Meeting Survival 101

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Today, several AgencyNetters are presenting our ideas to the leadership team for a large, well-known consumer product brand.

Two of those on the pitch team are designers from the creative department.  For one, it is her first time at a large pitch.  During our conversations leading up to her departure, I shared with her my Sketch Identity Management (SkIM) technique.  I apologize in advance to my copywriter who hates when I acronym (yes it can be a verb too).
In short, the SkIM technique is a quick and easy way to catalog all of the individuals in the meeting by name, title and location in the room.  The technique provides the user with a visual reference to “skim” whenever needed to easily remember who is speaking or whom to address.  Obviously, the technique is meant to be used during meetings where there is a larger than normal group of people where most of them are comprised of people you may not know.

Here’s SkIM by the Numbers…

Step 1:

Take your seat at the table for the meeting. It is assumed you will be seated at a large conference table but it is not necessary.

Step 2:

Survey the room. Take note of where everyone is, especially the people from your team.

Step 3:

Sketch the table and the room if necessary.

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Step 4:

Label your sketch with the names (and role or title) as everyone introduces himself or herself.

In order to keep everything easy to manage visually, here is how I simplify the sketch for my use.

  • I use an “X” to mark my spot.
  • Mark the members of your team with their first initial in a circle.
  • Label team members from organizations other than your own by writing their name and then a line underneath with their role or title beneath.
  • You may want to attach a differentiating mark to the individual(s) of importance such as project managers or team leaders.

Step 5:

Refer to your SkIM whenever needed during the meeting.

There you have it.  It may not seem like much, but the SkIM technique has helped me quite a few times during extended meetings in large groups.

What kind of interesting techniques have you developed for use in meetings?  I would love to hear them.  Thanks in advance and here’s to making the most out of your meeting time.